Saturday, May 8, 2021

Mesa Encore Theatre announces a new Producing Artistic Director and new Education Director

from our friends at MET:

Mesa Encore Theatre (MET) is excited to announce a new Producing Artistic Director, Michael Wallot. Michael brings with him over 30 years of theater leadership, production, and business experience and is a recent ariZoni Award recipient. He received multiple nominations for productions at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Fountain Hills Theater. Also joining the MET staff is new Education Director, Dr. Sara Bruton. MET is grateful to have them both on board to lead the company into the post-covid era, as MET returns to live performances in the fall of 2021 at the Mesa Arts Center.

With many years working in the non-profit sector (as well as producing and directing nearly 200 live theatrical productions) Michael Wallot understands the challenges of running a local theater company and hopes to build on MET’s long history of success. He highly values volunteer support and knows they are the heart of any non-profit company. He looks forward to building strong relationships with them, members of the community, as well as generous MET donors and sponsors in Mesa, and its surrounding areas.

Mr. Wallot grew up in the Midwest, made the big move to New York City at the age of 21, and produced his first show off-Broadway within 7 months of his arrival. Throughout his 20s, he made a name for himself as a performer and budding director. Michael toured the country in seven Broadway/National Tours, where he played leading roles in the Phantom of the Opera, Joseph, Evita, and The Wizard of Oz. He went on to serve as Managing Director of the Corner Bistro Dinner Theater, just outside NYC in Pennsylvania. In his early 30s, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a television comedy writer. Unfortunately, that was the same year the SAG/AFTRA union went on a year-long strike, which led Michael back towards his first love, live theater.

Shortly thereafter, he was selected to be Artistic Director of the Camino Real Playhouse in Orange County, California, and years later moved into the role of Producing Artistic Director for the Star Theater Company in Oceanside, California. Ultimately, Michael’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to eventually open his own business, The Broadway Bound Academy. He created and developed the small chain of theater schools that included the top-rated musical theater camp in Orange County, Camp Broadway Bound. After a decade of running the Academy, he decided to take a break to be closer to his family in Arizona. In the fall of 2015, he relocated to the Phoenix area. He jumped right into performing at Arizona Broadway Theater, and shortly after that, Michael landed the position of Artist Services Manager at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. He also recently served as Executive Director at Fountain Hills Theater. He happily brings all this experience with him into his new position with Mesa Encore Theatre.

New MET Education Director, Dr. Sara Bruton, has been living in Arizona since 2013 but originally hails from Northern California. She attained her bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from Cal State Fullerton and then came to ASU for her Masters in Voice Performance Pedagogy and her Doctorate in Voice Performance. Currently she is an adjunct professor of voice at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Sara also enjoys performing in musical theater productions throughout the valley. Her favorite roles include Ali in Mamma Mia at Phoenix Theatre Company, Jack’s Mom in Into the Woods with Mesa Encore Theater; and Paulette in Legally Blonde, Trix in The Drowsy Chaperone, Sally in Reefer Madness, and Gino in A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine at ASU. Sara is passionate about teaching healthy music theater vocal technique, finding opportunities to make the arts accessible and inclusive to all, and creating a safe space for collaboration and growth for artists.

Mesa Encore Theatre welcomes them both and looks forward to productions returning live on stage at the MAC in September 2021. MET’s 2021-22 season announcement is coming in May! 

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